Leslie

Sober 8+ Years

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By the age of 13 I was hateful, confused, angry, depressed, etc. and my soul was broken into what felt like a million pieces... addiction took me to places I thought I'd never go and Hope was the Salvation that brought me back to a life I learned to live. Today I share Hope... if you or someone you know is in the chaotic spiral of self destruction please know there's a way to turn from it and walk in the Light of a new way of life!

Hope is something lost when drowning in addiction, sharing hope with others means that there is Hope.

Michael 

Sober 9+ Years

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I am a Case Manager at MyHouse Matsu where I provide direct services to homeless and at risk of being homeless youth ages 14-24. I am a person in long term recovery. I got sober on April 20th, 2012. I had nothing. No hope, no hope for a future and my real friends. My life has completely changed. Since I’ve gotten sober I got married to Elisabeth Sisson, had 2 boys Benaiah and Liam Sisson and have a 3rd boy due in November. I became the co-owner of Newsense Music Entertainment along with my best friend Justin Pendergrass. You can expect 100% transparency and a professional relationship when working with me. I enjoy art. Creating it, listening to it and consuming it in any way. Music is the particular vehicle that I express myself artistically.
 

Anna

26+ years

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My life before recovery can best be described as humiliating and degrading. All the proverbial lines in the sand that I had ever set for myself were obliterated by my need to escape the reality of my daily existence through drugs. I didn’t have a life, I had a daily need to figure out how to get more money to buy more drugs, no matter what. I couldn’t parent my children, I couldn’t manage my life, and I couldn’t stop. My head and heart were full of guilt and shame. I didn’t know how to live and couldn’t do enough to die. I knew I didn’t want to completely and permanently sink into the abyss and I knew I needed help. I wanted to be someone my children and parents could be proud of. I wanted to have a life with grace
and dignity. Recovery has provided the opportunity for my heart and soul to reawaken. It’s given me the chance to repair relationships, be the mother I wanted to be, and to have healthy and sustaining relationships with people who love me just the way I am. Through the process I’ve gotten to resolve the issues from my childhood, and make amends with my friends and family. Recovery has taught me to dream big and work hard for those goals. Developing a relationship with my sense of spirit and with a higher power has allowed me to give grace to others as grace has been granted to me. I know today that I am perfectly imperfect and I am grateful that I’m not greater than or less than anyone. I’ve learned the hard way that complacency is the enemy of my recovery. When left unchecked, my addiction manifests in a variety of unhealthy ways. I still need to maintain holistic balance and remain teachable in order for my recovery to continue. I rely on my hard core four to help me see my blind spots and to walk me through my life on its own terms. Staying curious about myself and the world helps me keep a sense of awe and wonder.
If you’ve ever wondered about the need to try recovery, give it a shot. Use the support that is so readily available if you’re willing to try a new way of life. Recovery isn’t about just stopping using alcohol or other drugs, it’s really about creating a life you don’t need to escape from. The life I have today in recovery exceeds all my hopes and dreams.

Sasha

14+ years

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Hellurr! My name is Sasha and I have not found it necessary to pick up a mood- or mind-altering substance since 10-11-07! In just two pictures LeeAnna has captured what active addiction and recovery feel like daily. My story is no different than any you have already read just the players and playgrounds in active addiction have changed; the players and playgrounds in recovery maintain consistent and filled with hope and encouragement. What I want to share with you is the feelings those situations produced. It’s the feelings that kept me in active addiction for longer and the feelings that created enough desperation to choose recovery. I had several defects before I ever picked up drugs, drugs were my solution, the one thing that numbed me enough to forget. I chose drugs and gave up family, love, self-respect, purpose, and dignity. Recovery has afforded me all of that and more, I have learned that I wasn’t just numbing pain I was numbing the love my family was trying their hardest to show me, but I had already given up on myself. Today I believe in me because I watch countless others live a life of recovery and believe in themselves. Today there are moments that are filled with sorrow, pain, and sadness but the other side, the side is moments filled with joy, happiness, gratitude, and love. Life did not change, I changed as a result of recovery. We need the black and white, we need the color, we need each other! There is no shame in addiction and no shame in recovery, there is only lessons and experience that make your story and foundation that much stronger. We choose to be here for you and yours whenever needed, recovery encompasses so many things and you have it in you to begin or continue that journey through whichever pathway works for you; just remember you don’t have to do it alone! Look around you right now at all the people, pictures, diversity, and connection recovery brings. Wanna talk more find our Facebook page full of encouragement and pathways to recovery! Peer Support Network Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/581474548713208/ You can also add me and connect!

Sasha

14+ years

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Hellurr! My name is Sasha and I have not found it necessary to pick up a mood- or mind-altering substance since 10-11-07! In just two pictures LeeAnna has captured what active addiction and recovery feel like daily. My story is no different than any you have already read just the players and playgrounds in active addiction have changed; the players and playgrounds in recovery maintain consistent and filled with hope and encouragement. What I want to share with you is the feelings those situations produced. It’s the feelings that kept me in active addiction for longer and the feelings that created enough desperation to choose recovery. I had several defects before I ever picked up drugs, drugs were my solution, the one thing that numbed me enough to forget. I chose drugs and gave up family, love, self-respect, purpose, and dignity. Recovery has afforded me all of that and more, I have learned that I wasn’t just numbing pain I was numbing the love my family was trying their hardest to show me, but I had already given up on myself. Today I believe in me because I watch countless others live a life of recovery and believe in themselves. Today there are moments that are filled with sorrow, pain, and sadness but the other side, the side is moments filled with joy, happiness, gratitude, and love. Life did not change, I changed as a result of recovery. We need the black and white, we need the color, we need each other! There is no shame in addiction and no shame in recovery, there is only lessons and experience that make your story and foundation that much stronger. We choose to be here for you and yours whenever needed, recovery encompasses so many things and you have it in you to begin or continue that journey through whichever pathway works for you; just remember you don’t have to do it alone! Look around you right now at all the people, pictures, diversity, and connection recovery brings. Wanna talk more find our Facebook page full of encouragement and pathways to recovery! Peer Support Network Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/581474548713208/ You can also add me and connect!

Jon 

Sober 7+ Years

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Hello, thanks for reading this.

Today I am a grateful recovering addict with 7+ years clean and sober. As a product from an addict family I started using early on in life. Mistake after mistake, I never seemed to learn my lesson. Then one night I should have made it home (like many others) in years past. I didn’t make it. Like I told the cop this must be for all those nights I made it when I shouldn’t have. Thanks to Alaska Therapeutic Court (Drug court). I was given the last chance I needed to find my way. Today I’m a father to two wonderful boys.

A family man.

A leader in my trade as shop foreman.

Last, but not least, a brother in what is for me the glue that holds in all together

Second To None MC. Feel free to ask me questions if you see me.

Chelsea

Sober 2+ Years

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I've struggled with substance abuse all of my adult life. That's a little less than 2 decades.

My childhood was great. There weren't any learned behaviors that led to my use. I do think there is a genetic component that I inherited, however. I truly believe that alcoholism/addiction is a disease of the mind, body, and soul. I don't know how else to explain why I can't just have 1 drink or what happens if I try.  

 

Although I've had bouts of sobriety throughout the last 20 years, it took getting pregnant and the combination of all my previous efforts to get where I'm at. By the grace of God, I'll have 28 months clean and sober on the 13th.

 

This isn't to say, "I've overcome" or "made it".  The truth is I haven't. There is no final destination.  Every day I wake up and make a choice to abstain from alcohol and drugs. Some days are easier than others. On the hard days I just hang on and use my tools because the only thing I know for sure, it's that staying clean and sober is far easier than getting clean and sober.

Lance

Sober 8+ Years

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My name is Lance Hanes.

My recovery journey began in 2013 after decades of substance use.

Life in recovery is more than I could have possibly imagined.

Faith, family, friendship and a drive to help others find there way to a better life is what fills my spirit today.

GEOFF

Sober 10+ Years

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What my life was like before sobriety vs what life is like now? My life was complete chaos. Every day was a pathetic repeat of the day before, except it was getting worse with each passing day. I was basically feeding my addiction until if killed me, and I could physically feel the damage being done inside. My daily routine would be to wake up either extremely hungover, or still drunk which then became a hangover. I would shake until I got my next drink, which was usually after work. I was destroying family and abandoning friendships just so i could get my next drink. It was no longer fun, and it was a daily struggle just to exist.

What made me decide to get sober? My mom died of alcoholism, so I knew what my future held in store for me. I was afraid of change, but the fear of dying was finally greater than the fear of change, because I didn't know what a sober life had in store for me. Everything I did and all I knew revolved around alcohol. I had encouragement from those close to me, but I was the one who finally decided I needed to change before I died.

The biggest change in my life since getting sober? I'm surprised at what I've been able to accomplish while sober. I became a pilot in Alaska and own my own airplane now, I'm able to set and achieve goals, where before, I'd set a goal and consistently fail. The world is a more beautiful place having experienced where my pain and suffering took me was when I was drinking.

How has my faith/beliefs  affected by my sobriety? I was a hard-core atheist before I got sober, and I saw the word "God" throughout the 12 steps, and I was apprehensive that the program could work for me. I was able to look past the words and appreciate the spiritual awakenings that were happening along my journey. I can't and won't try to explain them, but they were happening regardless of my beliefs. I've relaxed my beliefs and just accepted that there is something spiritual happening and I don't question it. I just roll with it and love the life I now have, and I am grateful.

What were my breaking points, and have I overcome them now? Before I entered a treatment facility, I was living in a friend's basement and drinking every waking moment when I wasn't at work, and that time at work was unbearable. I had a nice house, dogs, and someone who cared about me, but I chose to drink instead, and I'm certain I was on the road to die. I realized what's important and embrace life and don't worry so much about what I don't have. I focus on what I already have. I didn't get back my old life, or get what I wanted out of sobriety, I got what I "needed", and it's been a beautiful journey.

My advice for the sober-curious: I understand that I personally needed to want to get help and get sober. I couldn't get sober for someone else. I had to do it for me. I just stayed sober for one day at a time. Those days added up and I learned to live without alcohol, and eventually thrive. I never in a million years would've guessed I would be experiencing what I am today. It's totally worth it.  

Kym

Sober 9.5+ Years

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My name is Kym and I'm an addict. My clean date is 11/15/11. 
I got clean when I became a grandma and my son told me I couldn't see my grandson because I was a drunk. Today, I am in their lives. I never saw myself getting clean, but I'm sure glad I am.
Today I have an amazing life. Thanks to all my hard work, I'm getting ready to start a job at CITC (Cook Inlet Tribal Council). 
I get to give back what was given to me.

Emma

Sober 8+ months

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Hi, my name is Emma and I am a grateful alcoholic. I know that it may sound funny to hear those two words together, but it’s so true. I think so many people are scared of the “A word” because the picture in their head of who an alcoholic is is never a pretty one. In my time in recovery though, I’ve listened to the most beautiful and eloquently stated concepts of what it means to live a meaningful life come straight from the lips of a recovering alcoholic. 

 

In my active addiction, I used binge drinking as the solution to my problems- something to take the edge off. When I drank, I was numbing not only the pain that life brought me, but also every other emotion, and masking it under the label of “having fun” or “just going out for drinks.” I’d wake up with a massive headache and crippling anxiety about what embarrassing thing I’d inevitably done the night before, which only compounded my aforementioned problems. Drinking for me was like placing a band-aid on a deep wound; a temporary and ineffective fix to something that very obviously needed more serious tending. 

 

In AA, I’ve received a very special gift, a literal guidebook with steps to healing my wounds. Once I decided that enough was enough, I found hope in the words of alcoholics, the beautiful humans in the rooms of AA, to live a sober life. I’ve gained the courage and confidence to pursue my dreams and I wake up every day not with a hangover, but with hope. All the experiences I’ve had in my life have led me to who I am now. My name is Emma, and I am a very grateful alcoholic.